I headed out Saturday night January 9, 2021 on a mission to cover two artists in two locations. The first stop was to check in with my old friend Melissa Crispo who was playing with the vibrant Melody Kiser from Sharpsburg, Georgia at Aloma Bowl in Winter Park, Florida. The second stop for the evening was Casselberrys Patio Bar and Lounge in Casselberry, Florida to finally catch up with Star 69.
Melissa Crispo is a friend and artist I have know for 18 years. I have photographed her shows off and on, and even helped her set up back in the day. She has hit the national stage performing throughout the United States and Europe. Melissa has been a regular on the Melissa Etheridge Cruise the past four years where she met a teenager and YouTube star, Melody Kiser. The two started to perform and write songs soon thereafter when they could get together. Melody is a part of two bands in Georgia, “The Melody Kiser Trio” and her families band “Kiser” playing alongside her mother and brother. Melody has currently been working and recording with producer Will Turpin who is the bass player for the band “Collective Soul”.
The two when performing their duo start each set showcasing their solo abilities then end the set together. Melissa traditionally starts in the Florida shows I have seen then yields to Melody. Both ladies have extremely strong vocals individually and when together harmonize beautifully. The show is billed as a singer/songwriter listening room show. They both play covers and their own originals while engaging the crowd with banter back and forth. This acoustic show was truly enjoyable.
Melissa Crispo – Vocals/Guitar
Melody Kaiser – Vocals/Guitar
Melody Kiser – Stay With Me (Live)
Melissa Crispo – Chasing Dreams
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My second stop was in Casselberry at Casselberrys Patio Bar and Lounge to see Star 69 a hard rocking cover band. When I arrived at around 10:00pm there was no music, so I assumed they hadn’t started yet with a start time of 9:30pm. But when I went to the stage another band was setting up. It was Soundporium who had been called in at the last minute. I was told there was an accident while Star 69 was loading in and a member sustained a hand injury and wasn’t able to perform. I spoke with Soundporium guitarist John Walsh who clued me in that it was a last-minute call. Sound check got underway after about twenty minutes of waiting. Being on a tight schedule, I headed over to the Post Time Lounge Café and Patio which was at the next light a 100 yards down the road. The joint was packed and and to my surprise Hypersona was rocking. Protocols made a temperature check mandatory for entry.
I had just covered Hypersona December 12, 2020 for those of you that might remember; https://allmusicmagazine.com/hypersona-hits-the-beach-in-sebastian-inlet-at-earls-hideaway-lounge-december-12-2020/. They are one of the top Orlando cover bands and I was an hour from home and didn’t want to leave Seminole County empty handed.
Hypersona cover artists Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Van Halen, Ted Nugent, and Cinderella. On this night they played two country songs in the second set which suited the Post Time Lounge’s crowd just fine as they flooded the dance floor. Eric Frates’ vocals are always spot on as his range covers many artists. Steve Savage holds down the guitar licks, and Sam Bittenbender, the showman of the group with wild hair fling on every song.
If you have a chance, whether it’s the band Hypersona, or the Hypersona Duo, you will find a first class Rock n Roll show!
Eric Frates – Vocals/Drums
Steve Savage – Vocals/Guitar/Bass
Sam Bittenbender – Vocals/Bass/Guitar
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As a concert photographer, I contribute my inspiration to pursue this artistic discipline to Melissa Crispo. She asked me to be her concert photographer in February 2017 for a show at Orlando’s House of Blues. Of course I agreed, and I was given an all access media pass. I was able to shoot from the photo pit, an experience I will never forget. Fear, anxiety, and adrenaline rushed though my vines as I had no idea what I was doing with all the wrong camera equipment. There were three bands that night and I shot about 1,500 images; 1,000 of Melissa’s band. When I uploaded to my computer, I found about only 30 were usable. I had never shot a concert under the no flash three song rule. People do it right? I had to learn what my problems were as the adrenaline rush was something I had to experience again and again. From that point on, I got the correct equipment, took some classes, and learned everything I could about concert photography. It’s challenging, a huge rush, and fun. But most of all, it’s the best seat in the house.
Freelance Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.